NOTICE: I do not practice in this area. To find an emancipation attorney, you can contact one of these organizations:
Let’s face it—many adults make terrible parents. Sometimes, a teenager would be better off without the harmful, toxic involvement of his or her parents. Emancipation can be one answer to the problem. In Minnesota, “emancipation” means that a minor has the same legal rights and Minor obligations as an eighteen-year-old adult. It can also be “partial, conditional … or limited as to time or purpose.” Sonnenberg v. County of Hennepin, 99 N.W.2d 444, 447-48 (Minn. 1959).
The parents of emancipated children are released of their legal duty to financially support their children. Emancipated minors are still subject to the law based on their age (i.e. they cannot buy alcohol or cigarettes, must be off the streets by curfew, are not able to vote and will be considered truant if they don’t attend school), however, emancipation allows them to function independently in an economic sense (i.e. sign a lease for an apartment, get credit). MN statutes recognize several rights for emancipated children, including:
Minnesota law does not provide a distinct process for minors to become emancipated from their parents. However, a court can use its discretion to declare that a child is emancipated by applying certain factors, but there is no way to predict how a court will rule on the issue. The law is complicated in this area because it seeks to protect both the parents and the children. Emancipation can be expected to occur:
Emancipation is often a complicated and confusing process, and there may be other legal options that may be more effective for your situation.
For a child age sixteen or older who is the subject of a “child in need of protective services” petition, the Juvenile Court may authorize an independent living situation for the child that is the equivalent of emancipation. Minn. Stat. § 260C.201, subd. 1(a)(5). Alternatively, if the child wants to be parented in another home, an adult from a home can go to court for an order giving them custody of the child. The other alternative is foster care. Ultimately, the court will decide which supervision is appropriate.
There is a DOPA form that can be filled to pass on parental authority to another party.
For emotionally, physically, or sexually abused individuals, an OFP can be filed with a court by the victim or a third party at no charge. You will get a hearing before a judge, and he will decide, based on testimony and evidence, the appropriate course of action. In an OFP hearing, the judge will not necessarily give you what you ask, but will decide what is appropriate from his own discretion.
Some problems (e.g., getting a lease for an apartment) may be resolved by a statement by your parent saying that you are emancipated or a letter from a lawyer which contains the legal conclusion that you should be considered emancipated.
If you decide emancipation is the best option for you, the process is to complete legal forms, which are commonly known as “emancipation papers” or “emancipation forms,” and file them with the court. Then the court will hold a hearing, where the person seeking emancipation attends. On average, court and attorney fees total $3,000. If parents contest the emancipation petition, the fees will be higher.
Emancipation attorney help is not cheap. Hiring a private attorney may cost $5,000 to $10,000.
However, this page provides a list of volunteer attorneys who provide pro bono services in Minnesota.
Often, you need more than help from the courts. You need to talk with someone experienced with your problems or you need to find safety. Here are some additional resources to get help outside of the court system:
Unfortunately, our attorneys do not do work in this area. This article is informational only. We are unable to respond to your comments and questions. Please use Google to search for another law firm in Minnesota.